IN a global destinations index released by Mastercard, Kuala Lumpur emerged as the eighth most visited city in the world to surpass Tokyo, Istanbul, and Hong Kong.
Malaysia’s capital welcomed 11.28 million visitors so far this year, up 7.2 percent from last year. Interestingly, the index also found that Kuala Lumpur recorded the highest percentage of leisure visitors at 92.2 percent.
Malaysia is known to be one of the cheapest destinations in the region for both leisure tourists and expats. Hotel rates are also relatively lower compared with some of its neighbors.
On top of that, Malaysia expects to welcome up to eight million Chinese tourists by 2020, a rapidly growing tourist group in the Muslim state.
Singapore too made the list and soars above New York City to be the world’s fifth busiest city; the island nation saw an 8.8 percent spike to receive 13.1 million visitors in 2016.
Based on estimates from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), tourism receipts in Singapore rose 13.9 percent to an all-time high of $24.8 billion (US$17.5 billion). Singapore, which relies on tourism for about four percent of its economic output, has built a reputation for glitzy shopping malls, street food, casinos and the Formula One night race.
Carlos Menendez, President, Enterprise Partnerships, Mastercard, said in a press statement: “With a growing number of visitors, Singapore has been taking steps to create seamless experiences, for example, by developing an entirely cashless transit system by 2020.”
Unsurprisingly, Bangkok retained its crown as the world’s most visited city.
Here’s the top ten most visited cities in the world:
- Bangkok, Thailand (19.41 million)
- London, England (19.06 million)
- Paris, France (15.45 million)
- Dubai, UAE (14.87 million)
- Singapore (13.11 million)
- New York, USA (12.7 million)
- Seoul, South Korea (12.39 million)
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (11.28 million)
- Tokyo, Japan (11.15 million)
- Istanbul, Turkey (9.16 million)